Psychological Recovery: Beyond Mental Illness

Psychological Recovery: Beyond Mental Illness

Psychological Recovery: Beyond Mental Illness

Psychological Recovery: Beyond Mental Illness

Synopsis

This book offers a succinct model of recovery from serious mental illness, synthesizing stories of lived experience to provide a framework for clinical work and research in the field of recovery.
• Places the process of recovery within the context of normal human growth and development
• Compares and contrasts concepts of recovery from mental illness with the literature on grief, loss and trauma
• Situates recovery within the growing field of positive psychology - focusing on the active, hopeful process
• Describes a consumer-oriented, stage-based model of psychological recovery which is unique in its focus on intrapersonal processes

Excerpt

The moving stories that people with a mental illness have published were the inspiration for this work, and we are deeply indebted to all those people who have shared their experiences with others in order to enhance our understanding. We have written this book to share a model of psychological recovery from mental illness which was derived from many personal accounts. There is a large and growing scholarly literature on recovery, most of which is in broad agreement about the elements of recovery and the many influences on the course of mental illness and its impact on the individual. Our model focuses on the intrapersonal psychological aspects, and does not include external factors such as employment, housing or other social factors. Although these are all extremely important to recovery, they are not the focus of the model. The simplicity of the model brings structure to a very complex field, and has proven to be a useful heuristic in clinical work, education and research. The book elaborates on the model, which was originally published in a journal article (Andresen et al., 2003), and presents our ongoing work, in the hope of furthering understanding of recovery and contributing towards the scientific endeavour of advancing recovery-oriented practice. Although aimed primarily at mental health professionals and students, we hope a wider audience will find the book interesting and informative, particularly people with a mental illness and their loved ones, who may find hope within these pages.

Throughout the book, we have used the term ‘consumer’ – synonymous with ‘service user’ or ‘user’ in the UK – to describe a person who has experienced mental illness. We acknowledge that not all people with a mental illness use mental health services, and are therefore not consumers in this context. We are also aware of, and deeply respect, the preference for other terminology, including ‘survivor’ and ‘expatient’. However, even these terms do not apply to all. Since there is broad consensus on the term ‘consumer’ in the literature, and the book is aimed primarily at professionals, we have adopted this word for simplicity’s sake.

In Part I we look at the concept of recovery. Schizophrenia may be considered an exemplar of mental illness, having historically had the worst prognosis. Due to the severity of the illness, there is a large body of literature on the course and outcome of schizophrenia, which provided us with the empirical evidence for recovery. Chapter 1 sets the scene for the book with a historical background of the concept of schizophrenia. It covers how recovery from schizophrenia came to be considered impossible, how this notion was disproved by empirical research, and the reasons for its persistence. The chapter also introduces the consumer recovery movement, and . . .

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